Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian | February 14, 2021

A coffin is being carried aloft towards the grave. It seems like a journey, not just from one point to another, but from man’s beginning to his end.

When man is born into this world, he immediately has recourse to a mother’s compassion and a father’s protection. He grows up among friends and relatives. Then he reaches adulthood and forges ahead on his chosen path through life.

His journey continues until finally death comes. Those relatives who had supported him through life then carry him to his final resting place. They lay him under a mound of earth where he is alone, where there is just him and his Lord.

Up till that point, he had been confronted with humans like him­self; now he is faced with God, infinitely greater than himself. Up till then he had been in a world where he had power of his own, but now he finds himself absolutely powerless. Man, the most helpless of crea­tures, will come before God the All-Powerful–a meeting so awe­some that it is almost beyond imagination.

People are continually dying here on earth. Not a day goes by without our seeing or hearing of the death of someone or the other. Yet we fail to realize the implications of death. This is because in our minds we lack a living picture of Heaven and Hell. We are preoc­cupied with other, totally unrelated, matters. We are too busy making homes for ourselves in this world to look to our eternal home. We are too concerned with worldly profit-making to care whether we have done enough to earn life everlasting. We are too involved with improv­ing our position in society to consolidate our relationship with God. We think of every human being in the same worldly terms; so, when a person dies, we feel only a sense of loss that one who gave so much to the world has been taken away from it. We see man in relation to this ephemeral world but fail to see him in relation to the next eternal world. How then can we realize the implications of death? How can we see that, as one is laid to rest, one is, in fact, being led to one’s meeting with the Lord and one’s eternal fate?